Friday, November 14, 2008

Canada: Expert Panel Members Ask Government To Act on Recommendations

Although Canada established an expert panel on helping older workers in 2007, when the final report was presented in 2008, it was "quietly released by then-Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Monte Solberg in late July, months after it was submitted to him." Now, the former head of the panel and a leading member are calling on the government to focus on the panels recommendations with respect to employment insurance reforms.

According to Erminie Cohen, the panel's chair, the "thinking of the panel may be ahead of its time but our ideas were certainly an antidote to the economic trouble we're entering." Panel member Fran├žoise Bertrand, president of the federation of chambers of commerce in Quebec, argued that improving the extent to which older workers participate in the workforce is as important to the economy as immigration and helping families reconcile the work-life balance.

Among other things, the panel recommended to let laid-off, long-time workers qualify for employment insurance without having to live off their severance cheques first and to let these laid-off, long-time workers receive benefits for longer than normal.

Sources: Telegraph Journal "Retired senator joins call for EI reforms" (November 13, 2008); Times & Transcript "Ottawa overlooking seniors, says panel member" (November 14, 2008)

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